Skip to Content
Artificial intelligence

AI-powered software robots are getting into the sales business

August 21, 2018

HR chatbot company Talla is expanding its artificial-intelligence software into sales.

Talla’s background: As our own Will Knight wrote back in 2016, the Boston-based business develops chatbots to help new HR workers get up to speed and be more productive. The company is using machine learning and natural-language processing to create software that’s smarter than the average bot.

The news: Today, it’s launching a platform that moves into other areas of the office. It’s now augmenting sales, customer service, and other customer-facing roles. Using existing written content, Talla’s platform learns answers to customer and employee questions, and connects those answers with software that can perform a needed task.

What that means: Talla CEO Rob May told MIT Technology Review that the new software is to salespeople as an exoskeleton is to a construction worker. Rather than having to dig through pages of info, new sales reps will be able to use it as a simple way to find answers, making their work easier and faster. When applicable, it’ll then offer to take the next step, automatically completing tasks like updating a customer address.

Why it matters: Talla’s platform is part of a broader migration businesses are making toward software robots. “We have a long-term goal of building digital workers,” says May. As the company builds up the number of tasks it can automate, it’s slowly creating a computerized employee.

Deep Dive

Artificial intelligence

open sourcing language models concept
open sourcing language models concept

Meta has built a massive new language AI—and it’s giving it away for free

Facebook’s parent company is inviting researchers to pore over and pick apart the flaws in its version of GPT-3

images created by Google Imagen
images created by Google Imagen

The dark secret behind those cute AI-generated animal images

Google Brain has revealed its own image-making AI, called Imagen. But don't expect to see anything that isn't wholesome.

Yann LeCun
Yann LeCun

Yann LeCun has a bold new vision for the future of AI

One of the godfathers of deep learning pulls together old ideas to sketch out a fresh path for AI, but raises as many questions as he answers.

AGI is just chatter for now concept
AGI is just chatter for now concept

The hype around DeepMind’s new AI model misses what’s actually cool about it

Some worry that the chatter about these tools is doing the whole field a disservice.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose WongIllustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.